Somerset Over 60’s 1XI Captain’s Review 2019
In a revamped competition with two league phases yielding the national finalists, Somerset started with defeats against both Gloucestershire and Devon in two low scoring matches.
So, it was vs Cornwall that a first win, overtaking the home side’s 138, was achieved. The next game, against Wales brought out the very best of the Somerset team. Poulton and skipper Ashton (54) established a foundation to the innings which was built upon with Andy Ashfold (51) in a stand of 98. Wales struggled to keep up with the scoring rate with tight bowling (Brogden (4-45) and sharp fielding frustrating the opposition.
The weather was the only winner is in the next two fixtures before facing Devon who were completely dominated by the bowlers (Brogden 3-10, Locke 2-14, Botton 2-15, Stevens 2-19) amassing a modest 85 which, with some faltering, was eventually overtaken.
Then came an interlude to take on the Australian Tourists. In spite of their strength they were stunned by three catches which, coupled with steady bowling, had them pegged back at 129 for 6 in the 24th over. But a fluent innings of 71 by Glen Richardson (a previous century maker vs England) enabled them to post 234 for 9. Despite some determined batting in reply, our innings ended on 200 for 7.
In the next Championship match, against Cornwall, Somerset set a solid target of 217 for 8, (Ashfold 69). The visitors, never really challenging, and were bowled out for 72 (Brogden 4-28, Stevens 3–17).
In the last game of the regional group (against Wales for the group title) we made 247 for 8 (Stephenson, 63) but Wales fell well short on 170 all out (Phil Stevens 3-14. So, Somerset went on to play for a place in the final as regional winners.
Against Wales, Somerset posted 220 for 7 (Ashfold 70, Scott 62). In reply Wales showed little resistance; Scott 3-32 being the chief wicket taker. Then came the long trek to Essex and another frustrating afternoon spent watching rain. The same fate led the match vs Berkshire also to be abandoned. Next up was Hertfordshire, who were held in check to the extent that at 38 overs they were 112 for 5, finishing on 154 (Brogden, 4-33). In reply a stand of 90 (Stephenson 56) got us off to an excellent start but a collapse to 97 for 4 had the nerves on edge for a while until Mike Fear and Locke ensured Somerset’s win and leaving the final game in this group to decide who would represent the southern counties in the national final.
This was to be a remarkable game against one of our oldest rivals and on a warm day Hampshire, winning the toss, asked Somerset to bat. After 33 overs Somerset lost their first wicket (Poulton, 71) and Stephenson added an excellent 109, helping Somerset reach a total of 246 for 6. Hampshire’s reply was impressive with their first wicket falling after 24 overs for 111. However, high quality bowling and exceptional fielding maintained the pressure with Hampshire falling short by just 12 runs (Brogden 3-48 and a 9 over spell by Iain Locke which included 3 maidens).
Now Somerset faced Lancashire in the Final. Losing the toss and, while fielding, losing our skipper (who headed for hospital with an open fracture of his finger) did not help the cause; neither did the outstanding innings by Lancashire’s captain (131, but dropped three times!). A total of 273 for 4 and without a top order batsman was a ‘big ask’ and Lancashire emerged easy winners by 143 runs.
Throughout the season every player contributed to our success, enabling us to reach the Final, and there were some outstanding individual efforts on the way. Though the big prize evaded us (this year) that should not detract from the fact that Somerset are one of the top Counties in the Country. As captain, I want to thank all who contributed and to acknowledge the commitment they gave to the squad as a whole and especially the support they gave me.
1st XI captain
Somerset Over 60’s 2XI Captain’s Review 2019
2019 has been the most successful season yet for the 2nd XI. Reaching the Plate for the first time, and just missed out on a place in the national final, finishing second to Surrey in the Southern group. Surrey subsequently lost the final to Lancashire.
The season started badly, losing heavily to eventual West Division champions Wales. But three successive victories against Devon (Glyn Flinders 3 for 26), Worcestershire (Keith Bell 100, Julian Harvey 90, Steve Sheppard 3 for 12) and Gloucestershire (Alistair Barr 105, Jerry Palmer 3 for 26) propelled us to 2nd place in the table. An opportunity to go top was thwarted by the weather as our return game against Wales was cancelled. We also lost our match against Devon to the weather, and then suffered a shock defeat to Worcestershire, but other results went our way, and we were still in Second, with a winner takes all game against Gloucestershire for a place in the Southern Plate. It wasn’t strictly a winner takes all game, because we could afford to lose as long as we picked up seven points or more. We picked up our seven points, and winning/losing was of no consequence, so we locked up shop, ensuring we lost no more wickets. Gloucestershire won, but we went through.
The Southern plate started with victory over Kent at Orpington on an extremely hot day, thanks to a patient 39* from Rick Hutchinson and a match winning 4 for 28 from Brian Pearson. Our game v Surrey was cancelled before a great team effort saw us beat Hampshire at Cadnam. A disappointing display v Oxfordshire in our only home game, despite a valiant 92* from Pete Rebera, left us needing to beat Hertfordshire at Radlett and hope Hampshire could thrash Surrey. Great contributions from the two Simon’s, Hardy (4 for 38) and Hopkinson 64, saw us beat Herts, but news filtered through that Hampshire were 30 for 7 v Surrey, so Surrey rightly proceeded to the final.
All in all, an excellent season, winning against good quality opposition, and other than the defeat against Wales, putting in strong performances against the rest. Better availability in the firsts and the 70’s filtered through to the seconds. Availability from regulars such as Adrian Procter, Alistair Barr, Pete Rebera, Jerry Palmer, Clive Copp and Steve Sheppard added to core players Miles Richards, Glyn Flinders, Neil Johnson, Rick Hutchinson and myself, meant we were able to field stronger sides than in previous years.
The 2019 season saw us play in four friendlies which gave us an opportunity to look at new players. Ed Morris, David Barton and Steve Crompton all played an important role after impressing in these matches. Thirty players represented the seconds during the season, so big thanks to all those players that made themselves available week after week, some of whom didn’t get a game all year, but there’s no doubt that without the depth we wouldn’t have had such a good season. Big thanks to our regular umpires, Paul Bachelor and Chris Norton and our reliable scorer Tom Gibbard.